I'm not afraid of hard games, I've stated this many times here and my whole gaming attitude is the more challenging even to the point of frustration is fine by me. What I do not like is when a games difficulty isn't balanced all the way through. I'm not talking about a level that's harder than the rest or a part that may be tricky to get by. No I mean when a game has a consistent challenge through the whole game but then near the end the difficulty is jacked up to an almost game breaking difficulty. Again not afraid of the challenge, it can be annoying to experience this.
One example of this is the first Assassin's Creed. This was a game without a difficulty selection you were stuck on what the developer wanted you to experience. Playing through that game I spent the whole game building my combat techniques to handle the enemies no matter how many I had to face. But all of a sudden near the end of the game the combat spikes and even a couple foes become a challenge and the combat skills I've spent the whole game honing are useless and I was stuck with just blocking and countering. I went from feeling like a bad ass kill anything assassin to some shmuck who has to hide and turtle only to strike when the cheapest opening appears. I still likes Assassin's Creed but that to me hurt the over all experience. As mentioned in a past post about monsters in games and how they're never as balanced as the human enemies that is another concern for me when it comes to balanced difficulty.
The main thing that made me want to write this post here was the game I am currently playing. That game is Torchlight, I've finally been playing through it the last few days and right now I'm on what I guess is the finally set of levels of the main quest. I've been playing the game on Hard and at first and I mean like for the first few floors it was some what challenging but then it was a cake walk. That is until this last set of floors, it's a ball buster now. In about 3 floors I went through the 60 Super Health Potions I had then the few Great Health Potions. Also from the start to this point I had only died a few times and that was mainly due to me not paying attention to my health. On these floors alone I've died about 15 times. It's freaking brutal, I was shocked by the spike in difficulty. I'm properly equipped and my skills are all set up alright. It's just, I don't know maybe it's unbalanced, I plan on doing a Very Hard playthrough and maybe it will be different but I have no idea. I've played other games over the years that do this but the two mentioned above are the two examples that come to mind right now.